A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 7: Training for Mobility 164 Exercises and Stretches for Low Back Pain Prior approaches to low back pain recovery included avoiding or limiting the amount of physical activity to be performed. However, current recommendations argue against remaining sedentary and instead advocate for as much low-intensity exercise as can be tolerated (Peterson & Rittenhouse, 2019). Performing low-intensity exercise (e.g., walking, swimming) while dealing with low back pain has shown to help with pain and loosen the muscles of the lower back thereby improving ROM. The amount of physical activity that can be tolerated while dealing with low back pain will differ among individuals. Other examples of low-intensity exercises include various mobility exercises, strength training exercises and stretches. Table 7.2 provides some basic low back mobility, strength and flexibility exercises. These simple exercises can be performed before, during and after the onset of low back pain. In an effort to help prevent low back pain, it is recommended that these exercises be performed at least 2-3 times per week. While dealing with low back pain, these exercises can be performed at least once daily (more if tolerated). Even so, it is important to not be overly aggressive when performing these exercises as doing so may lead to the worsening of pain and/or symptoms. Often individuals start to reduce the frequency in which they are performing these exercises, or stop altogether, when their low back pain begins to subside or lessen. Obviously, this is not recommended, as the relief provided can be both temporary and reversible. If the individual stops participating in mobility training, the benefits of and results from training will slowly start to diminish and eventually dissipate altogether over time. To prevent this, at least 10 minutes of mobility training is recommended each day.